Sectional Overview of SB 111 – Alaska Academic Improvement and Modernization Act

To assist school districts in their advocacy efforts, AASB has prepared a brief summary of important nuances and a sectional overview of SB 111.

Link to Bill Detail

SB 111 – Alaska Academic Improvement and Modernization Act

Important Nuances of SB 111

  • Mandatory retention of students not meeting reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade are embedded in multiple sections of SB 111
  • Requires additional reporting requirements on both DEED and local school districts
  • Requires reading intervention strategies from local districts with no funding or department personnel assistance
  • Limits the number of districts eligible for Pre-K grants by capping the funding for the grants.
  • Enables districts to establish Pre-K programs through statute and then repeals the statutory authority requiring districts to absorb the program costs with no guarantee of additional funding.
  • Increases the carry-over cap for fund balances – but only if the district meets or exceeds the national average NAEP scores.
  • Establishes an additional “competency examination” with components of reading, writing, and mathematics (and subject areas as pertinent) for new educators.

Sectional Overview of SB 111

Section 1: Establishes Act as “The Alaska Academic Improvement and Modernization Act.”

Section 2: Authorizes DEED to approve or supervise an early education program, including a program operated by a head start agency.

Section 3: On June 30, 2032, this section repeals DEED’s ability to approve an early education program in Section 2 on June 30, 2032. The effective date of the repeal is established in Section 46.

Section 4: Authorizes districts to employ reading intervention strategies under 14.30.765completely at district expence.

Section 5: Inserts new reporting requirements by DEED to the legislature and districts, including:

  • a report on everything under AS 14.03.120.
  • A summary of administrative employees including ratios of admin employees to students and admin employees to teachers and the total number of teachers compared to total number of students receiving instruction.
  • Progress on reading intervention programs and professional development in-services days related to reading instruction.

Section 6: Inserts a new subsection under AS 14.03.078 that directs school districts to make public the administrative ratio information collected under Section 5 and inserts a definition for administrative employee.

Section 7: Amends school start states for Kindergarten from September 1 to June 1st preceding the beginning of the school year for five-year-olds. Establishes a waiver process for 4-year-old students on an assessment approved by DEED.

Section 8: Establishes pre-K start date as June 1st preceding start of the school year for four-year-olds.

Section 9: Adds a new subsection under 14.03.120 with additional district reporting requirements to DEED based on reading proficiency. Multiple references to mandatory retention and reporting retention data.

Section 10: Establishes early education grants for the 20 lowest performing districts and authorizes DEED to approve existing pre-K early education programs up to $3 million each year for each fiscal year for three years.Establishes Parents As Teachers under 14.03.420.

Section 11: Authorizes DEED and adds responsibility to exercise general supervision of early education grant programs.Authorizes DEED to establish a reading program to provide direct support and intervention to districts.

Section 12: On June 30, 2028, this section repeals DEED’s authorization to offer reading intervention services under AS 14.30.770. This repeal applies to Section 12. The effective date of Section 12 (the repeal of Section 11) is established in Section 45.

Section 13: On June 30, 2032, this repeals DEED’s authorization to approve existing early education programs (pre-K) be rolled into the ADM. This section repeals Section 12. The effective date of Section 13 is established in Section 46.

Section 14: Amends AS 14.07.020(c) to align terminology regarding pre-K programs.

Section 15: Authorizes DEED to purchase supplemental textbooks in support of reading programs and intensive reading intervention services.

Section 16: On June 30, 2028, this section repeals DEED’s ability to purchase supplemental textbooks for the intensive reading intervention services. The effective date for Section 16 (repeal of Section 15) is established in Section 45

Section 17: Directs the state board to adopt standards for a high-quality pre-K.

Section 18: Directs DEED to provide the legislature a report on the virtual consortium established under Section 36 of this legislation.

Section 19: Directs the state board to adopt standards for reviewing, ranking, and approving language art curricula to ensure it is rooted in evidence-based reading instruction as identified by the National Reading Panel.

Section 20: Expands cooperative allowances for districts to include private businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. Funds cannot provide direct benefit to private educational institutions. 

Section 21: Establishes a pre-K student counts as 1/2 ADM.

Section 22: On June 30, 2032, repeals provision that allows for a pre-K student to count as 1/2 ADM.

Section 23: Permits a school district to reserve up to 50% of operating funds to carry over.

Section 24: On June 1, 2026, this section repeals and replaces the 50% authorization and replaces it with 25%.

Section 25: Permits an exception to the above section.

Section 26: On June 1, 2026, a district may hold up more than 25% and up to 50% of operating funds if the school district’s students NAEP scores exceed the national average and the reduction in the non-institution costs account for the reserve.

Section 27: Authorizes a pre-K student to count under the ADM.

Section 28: On June 30, 2032, repeals authorization to count a pre-K student under the ADM. Effective date for

Section 28 (repeal of Section 27) is established in Section 45.

Section 29: Prohibits double counting of pre-K students for federal funding purposes.

Section 30: Requires a teacher from another state holding a preliminary teaching certificate to complete coursework in evidence-based reading instruction prior to being certified in the state of Alaska to teach.

Section 31: Directs the state board to establish and review a passing course on a competency examination for teacher certification. The competency examination must include components in reading, writing, and mathematics and subject areas, as necessary.

Section 32: Requires a teacher holding a preliminary teaching certificate to complete coursework in evidence-based reading instruction.

Section 33: Establishes a state reading program – similar to The Alaska Reads Act; however, there are significant deviation in the language around retention.

  • Students with a reading deficiency may be retained unless they receive a waiver, good cause exemption or have previously been retained in K-3rd grade.
  • This section directs districts to establish a retention policy; however, the section also directs DEED to develop a waiver and directs school districts to require at least 20 additional hours of summer reading instruction if a student is not proficient on an assessment in 3rd grade. 
  • Under this section, the waiver process is only established for a student in grade 3 whose parent or guardian does not wish for that student to be retained. There is no mention of the waiver process for students K-2nd grade.
  • Establishes an intensive reading intervention for low performing schools; however, limits the number of participating schools each year to 5 (previous legislation authorizes up to 10 schools per year). This section also removes extra reading support specialists from resources DEED may deploy.

Section 34 & 35: On July 1, 2026, this section mandates 3rd grade retention if a student is not reading at grade level. (Note, this will impact students who did not have access to pre-K)

Section 36: Establishes a virtual education consortium.

Section 37: Amends the definition of organization to make early education program employees mandatory reporters.

Section 38: Repeals pre-K program, Parent As Teachers, standards for high-quality pre-K, and ADM enrollment.

Section 39: Repeals intensive reading intervention program.

Section 40: Directs DEED to ensure virtual consortium is available on or before July 1, 2023.

Section 41: Applicability language for preliminary teaching certificate additional training in evidence-based reading instruction.

Section 42: Directs the department to report on intensive reading program efficacy no later than January 1, 2028.

Section 43: Transition language for pre-K grant program. Remaining sections are repealers and effective dates.